Private rental market out of reach for income support recipients: Anglicare report

Single people living on Newstart or Youth Allowance in the Latrobe Valley and Baw Baw regions have been effectively priced out of the private rental market, an Anglicare Victoria report has found.

The 2015 Rental Affordability Snapshot revealed single people on this type of income support had zero access to affordable or appropriate local rentals.

This increased the access to 14 per cent of surveyed properties once single people received minimum wage.

Single parent families with one child receiving the Parenting Payment had access to 11 per cent of the rentals surveyed, or 54 properties, but this reduced to just 16 properties for single parents with two children.

For single people on the aged or disability support pension, only 36 properties – seven per cent – were affordable and appropriate.

Anglicare Gippsland regional director Jane Anderson said the figures were “very concerning, but not surprising” as the organisation saw the every day stress people were facing.

“This current situation is forcing people into crowded share accommodation, which can lead to family tensions and create other complex issues,” Ms Anderson said.

“Our financial counselling team is also seeing more people present with money worries, with clients seeking to access superannuation early.

“The consequences of this action, will of course, negatively impact in their future.”

Single parents with two children, working full time on minimum wage but also with a parenting payment, had access to 29 per cent of the rentals.

For couples on Newstart Allowance with two children, 62 of the properties were appropriate and affordable.

Couples on the Aged Pension had moderate access to rentals at 26 per cent of local properties.

The snapshot of properties was taken from the 494 rental listings in the Latrobe and Baw Baw local government areas on from 11 to 12 April this year.

In the report, ‘affordable’ housing was defined as a property which cost less than 30 per cent of the household’s total income.

Anglicare Victoria is now calling on the Federal Government to commit to a National Affordable Housing Summit.